How To Wednesday- Baking a Potato


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Welcome to “How To Wednesday”!!

Today I have a Baked Potato.

I can’t tell you how many times I used to call my mom just to ask her how to bake a potato. I am pretty sure it drove her crazy, but I finally figured it out. There are several methods to baking a potato, but this is my favorite because the potato skin is crispy and the insides are soft and fluffy.

How to Bake the Perfect Outback Style Baked Potato

We like to have potatoes for dinner once in awhile. It’s a cheap meal, and it can be fun for the kiddos too. We put out all the fixin’s, {chili, cheese, sour cream, green onions, sliced olives, diced tomatoes, etc}and the kids have a blast creating their very own dinner.

Try to find potatoes that are similar in size for consistent baking.

To start off, preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Scrub the potatoes under running water to remove all the dirt.

Pat the potatoes dry with a paper towel.

Using a fork, carefully pierce the potatoes two to three times per side.

Brush the whole potato with olive oil. This will make the skins nice and crispy.

Sprinkle the tops with some sea salt.

Place them directly on the middle rack of the oven. I like to place a foil lined baking sheet underneath just in case anything drips off of the potatoes.

Bake for 45-60 minutes or until a fork is able to pierce the potato with little resistance.

Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes.

Run a knife lengthwise across the salted top, leaving about 1/2 inch on both sides.

Using both hands, pinch each side of the potato.

While pinching, push towards the center of the potato, forcing it to open up.

Keep pushing and squeeze the fluffy insides up. It might take one or two tries, but it will look like one fancy potato once you master this technique!

And there you have it! One crispy-skinned baked potato ready for all the fixin’s!!

What is your favorite topping on a baked potato?

**New** Check out all these great Themed Baked Potato Bar Ideas! From Mexican to Greek, and even Steakhouse…these potato toppings will help you create one fantastic meal!

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How To Bake A Potato
  • Baking Potatoes - make sure they are all similar in size
  • Olive oil
  • Salt - I prefer to use a coarser sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Scrub the potatoes under running water to remove all the dirt. Pat the potatoes dry with a paper towel. Using a fork, carefully pierce the potatoes two to three times per side.
  3. Brush the whole potato with olive oil, then sprinkle the tops with salt.
  4. Place them directly on the middle rack of the oven. (I like to place a foil lined baking sheet underneath just in case anything drips off of the potatoes) Bake for 45-60 minutes or until a fork is able to pierce the potato with little resistance. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
To Open Potatoes:
  1. Run a knife lengthwise across the salted top, leaving about ½ inch on both sides. Using both hands, pinch each side of the potato. While pinching, push towards the center of the potato, forcing it to open up. Keep pushing and squeeze the fluffy insides up. Fill with any toppings you would like!

The Perfect Baked Potato


  1. I love to top my with sour cream, chives and chopped olives. So So yummy.
    I had a potato explode in the oven once. Such a mess.

  2. iwashyoudry says:

    That sounds great! (the toppings, not the explosion!!) lol

  3. Very nice and helpful post! I like sour cream, or Greek yogurt on top of mine! :)

  4. iwashyoudry says:

    I have never tried Greek yogurt! That sounds fabulous!

    • We love greek yogurt, Fage or Oikos are our favorites. Either one of these are so thick and creamy that the are delicious on baked potatoes, or any other dish that you ordinarily use sour cream on. When you try it try the best! Oh my gosh, I just read the date that you posted so you probably have already tried it. If you tried another brand and said yuk! before you make your final decision try Fage or Oikos. And no I have no interest in these two other than we love the brands.

  5. Not Supermom says:

    My favorite baked potato topping?




  6. Beth Foster says:

    I have an additional tip to share that I picked up in the restaurant business…instead slicing the potato open with a knife, take a fork and prick holes in a cross pattern on the top- end to end and side to side. Then squeeze. You will be AMAZED! it’s almost like the potatoes are diced inside.
    Great blog! Found via Pinterest. (of course) :)

  7. I found this post via Pinterest — and finally I know how to make them crispy and salty! Thanks!
    p.s. I always eat mine with a bit of butter and A-1 steak sauce. I discovered that once while having steak – and a baked potato! LOL!

    • Tiffany says:

      Ha ha I love mine with A1 too! My husband thinks I am a wierdo :) So yummy though! When I do not have that I have mine with a bit of butter, garlic salt and cheese.

      • GiadasMama says:

        i thought i was the only one that likes mine with A1 sauce also bbq sauce
        i usually eat mine with butter, sour cream, sea salt and pepper
        then when i get to the skin i like to dip it in A1 or bbq.. yum!!

  8. Maggie Hall says:

    I’ve worked in restaurants most of my life. When you’re expediting orders (getting the plates ready for the servers) and have to plate as many as 10 baked potatoes at a time, you learn how to “pop” those potatoes just right without slicing into it. Same as you’d do after slicing; just a little more pressure.
    I’ve seen this on Pinterest, but I’ve done it for years in the restaurant business, as well as at home. Whip butter with equal parts butter and water to cut down on calories but not the taste OR (in the restaurant business) whip equal parts butter and margarine. AND while I’m on the subject of butter, whip 2 sticks butter, 2 sticks margarine and 1 cup of frozen strawberries for strawberry butter… or 3/4 cup honey for honey butter (and 1 teaspoon cinnamon for cinnamon honey butter).
    My favorite tater toppers are butter, 1 tsp sour cream, steamed broccoli, cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon. And the roast beef with added cheddar on a baked potato is awesome.

  9. Butter, Salt, Pepper, Shredded cheese, Pull BBQ pork, Sour Cream, Green onions, EXTRA BBQ- In this order! YUM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. I only like salt and pepper on my baked potato. I know, weird but I hate butter and hate sour cream too.

  11. antonija says:

    I made this, loved it, will definitely do it again. My family had great things to say as well. Best of all, it’s so easy.

    Thanks for the post!

  12. Ooooh, I am so going to try this! I really like cottage cheese with my baked potatoes! My boyfriends thinks I’m nuts.

  13. I LOVE baked potatoes any old way! However, my favorite toppings are lots of butter, lots of sour cream, green onions (chopped), and real bacon bits. Occasionally we go to BBQ place and get chopped beef to top also. Yummy! ♥

  14. We love potatoes! I love a taco potatoes….taco seasoned hamburger meat, queso sauce, and grated cheese. My boys love to add ranch to a regular potato….Just thought I would share!

  15. Yall got me straving to death now and its to late to go fix a potato, but I like mine with butter, sour cream, chives, bacon,and cheese, kosher salt and fresh ground pepper…OMG!! Me Hungry…..

  16. Even easier, turn your oven to 475 and just put the plain clean potato in the oven for 45 minutes. Crispy outside and fluffy inside

  17. This is how I usually bake mine, but I usually use butter instead of olive oil. I’ll have to try it with olive oil, but it’s probably about the same. Yum!

  18. I do the same thing with the oil and salt, only let mine cook all day on low in the crockpot! So simple and so perfectly cooked.

  19. I bake my potatoes in the crock pot! I like just sour cream on mine.

  20. I used to get the “Princess Potatoes” at the college cafeteria, and they were topped with cottage cheese, diced tomatoes, chopped scallions or chives and then I added salt. Surprisingly good, and a change from butter and sour cream.

  21. MP Burgin says:

    I love to empty out the potato skins, mix the potato meat with some butter and sour cream (have used yogurt) then gently mix in baked salmon, garlic shrimp cut into small pieces,baked halibut, and other seafoods you have. Put the potato meat back into the skins and bake until light brown on top then add grated pramesan cheese and a hollandaise sauce. mmmmmmmmmmmmmm very good.

  22. Love it! I buy potatoes at my local butcher shop and he has pre-oiled and salted and adds dried basil. Thanks for sharing!!

  23. You can also cut the potato with the fork instead of a knife (after it is cooked) and it will tear up the insides insead of cutting so well. This makes the potato fluff up better (when you are pinching the sides) when you are serving and makes the fluffing part easier (especially on a hot potato).

  24. Another tip: When you can squeeze your potato, it’s done.
    For some reason it won’t squeeze until it’s completely done, I thought it was crazy but it works!

  25. Kathy Suszczewicz says:

    Found you from Pinterest. I keep some salt on my counter, in the exact same 1/4 cup measure. :) well done!

  26. Mom always pierced, oiled & wrapped in foil for a soft skin and then a while back i figured out the crispy version with cracked pepper & sea salt. A potato is soooo easily made a meal. Love to stuff it with my left over “Hot Wing Dip” concoction & serve with a salad. But my newest fave is to lightly butter & top with smoked cheddar & a good applewood bacon : ) It gives you yummyness of ohhh maybe homemade augratin potatoes without the labor ; )

  27. This is the way I bake my potatoes (when I’m not in a hurry) as well. They are the creamiest inside if you bake them long and slow…250 degrees for a couple of hours. They smell so good while baking, that it’s hard to resist the temptation to turn up the heat and finish them quicker.

  28. Also forgot to say that I don’t poke holes in them before baking.

    • Hi Liz! My aunt once forgot to poke holes in her potato before baking, and it ended up exploding in the oven. Not sure if that’s the reason, but I have always poked holes in my taters just in case! 😉

  29. Where did you get those measuring cups at?? I love them…and of course this recipe!!

    • Hi Lindsay! Ok, so long story short- my friend won ALL of Oprah’s Favorite Things(2011) {she is crazy lucky like that} and these measuring cups happened to be one of them. She ended up giving them to me! So I don’t really know where to buy them, but if you search for Oprah’s favs in 2011 you might find them. :)

  30. Love baked potatoes! Especially if I have sour cream on hand. I’m definitely going to try it this way. I usually oil them up and stick them in my crockpot. I squish my potatoes just like you do to open them. Makes them presentable and ready to top with all the yummy stuff. (Going to share this with my FB group.)

  31. Hello just wanted to give you a brief heads up
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    I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same outcome.

  32. I do a mixture of a canned tuna, leek, paprika, garlic flavored cream cheese, salt and black pepper. Its good or just plain butter will do :)
    Love your ideas!

  33. Ranch dressing as a topper…yum

  34. I love my baked taters with a drizzle of my current fav low-cal, fat-free, or sugar-free salad dressing such as raspberry vinagrette, balsamic vinagrette, Italian, etc. All good. And a big cut down of calories with lots of flavor. Yummy!

  35. Hey! This post couldn’t be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my good old room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this page to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  36. While potatoes bake, brown some ground beef and onion. Set aside. Scrape baked potato out of skin; add a little butter. Mix meat and potato, stuff skins, grated cheese on top. Under broiler to melt cheese. With vegetable and salad makes great inexpensive meal.

  37. I love with butter, sour cream, and Cavendars Greek Seasoning,oh so good! Years ago used to always have a crab and cheddar tater, with sour crew of course.

  38. I saute onions, garlic, & peppers in a lil’ butter. Add ham and turkey to the potatoe topped with the sauted combo and cheese of your choice. Put back in the oven til cheese is melted and golden brown. Sour cream if you please! A meal all by itself!

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  40. I want to get one of these, but my girlfriend won’t let
    me!, annoying

  41. I like my baked potato with lots of butter, a little sour cream, some Johnny seasoning salt and shredded cheddar cheese…NUMMY!

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  44. I eat mine with butter, sour cream, shredded colby-jack cheese and cover it in A1 Steak Sauce :)

  45. For a change of pace, I sometimes like butter, s & p, and a small dollop of Marie’s Blue Cheese ( or Super Blue ) salad dressing.

  46. These were amazing!~

  47. Back in the old days, before microwave ovens came into the home, baking in the oven was the only way to bake potatoes. Because we were essentially poor, my mother would not waste foil on mere potatoes, so the first time I saw a foil-wrapped baked potato was when I was in my late teens and went to a restaurant with a date. She also wouldn’t brush them with oil or sprinkle them with salt unless there was company coming. In the winter, we had baked potatoes on an average of three days a week, because it was nice to have the oven on. I haven’t done potatoes in the oven for years, because I don’t tend to plan ahead that far, but I’m thinking tomorrow for lunch I’ll do them this way. Thanks for reminding me!

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  49. I had to try this recipe and it was great! I shared it on my blog with a link back to you!
    It made my anniversary yummy Thanks!!

  50. These look great. I can’t wait to try this method. As an fyi…if you make a small cross cut, as well as the first cut, it makes the potato open and smush so much better. :)

  51. Shortcut – Scrub, pierce, then nuke your potato for about 10 minutes each (squeeze them to check – they should be soft). Then brush with melted butter or olive oil, sprinkle with salt and put in the oven…but for only 10 minutes to crisp the skin!! I do this all the time.

  52. These are baking in the oven right now! I can’t wait to try them.

    Growing up, we always topped our baked potatoes with butter and french onion dip. The first time I ordered a baked potato in a restaurant and got plain old sour cream I thought it was too boring. He he.

    I love them loaded – butter, sour cream, bacon, green onions, and shredded cheese. But I just love baked potatoes in general. Butter, sour cream, salsa. Cheese and broccoli. Bacon and cheese. I could go on, but I’ll spare you. Thanks for the tips.

  53. A quick way to make your potatoes look nice and fluffy is to smash it with you hand before you make the slit. Not too hard, of course, because you don’t want to break the potato open. I’ve worked in a restaurant for years, and this is a little trick I’ve learned to make the potato look more appetizing, when you push up after its smashed it fluffs right up for you.

  54. Restraunt Trick – use a fork to slit the potato (make a cross) – the potato will be much more fluffy than if you cut it.

  55. I LOVE baked potatoes. I’ll have to give this a try! Side note; I put cottage cheese on baked potatoes. I’ve done this since I was a child. Every person I introduce it to loves it as well. Way better than sour cream in my opinion.

    • I’m with Megan, cottage cheese and a spice mixture called Spike!

      • This is too funny! I bought I was the only one who liked potatoes with cottage cheese! People think I’m so weird. Glad I’m not alone! I like it either this way or just plain with salt.

  56. Awesome post.

  57. Love these. I discovered this about a month ago and make them this way every time now. The other day I asked my daughter what she wanted for dinner and she said “the fancy baked potato”!

  58. Oh wow! I just made these for our New Year’s Eve dinner & they were AMAZING! Sooo soft inside & crispy outside. I’ll never make a potato another way.

  59. Wish I would have known this last time we tried to make baked potatoes. // We brushed the same amount of oil on top & added salt, but wrapped them in foil and set them directly on the racks without anything underneath… according to my mom, it normally works that way. But we had a small fire in the oven from the oil dripping to the bottom. :( And it was so hard to clean up!

  60. I make them the same exact way except I sprinkle Lemon Pepper over the whole potato instead of putting salt on top… I always get rave reviews from dinner guests! Yum!

  61. Outbacker says:

    I have worked for Outback for 10 years… The correct way is to roll your cleaned, pricked potatoe’s in salted butter than put alot of Kosher Salt all over the potaoes. Bake as normal. I’m sure your way is good as well. :-)

  62. Sue Shirley says:

    I also just saw on one of the cooking shows, to lay the potatoes in a bed of kosher salt while baking! Tried it and we’re very good.

  63. After prepping the potatoes with olive oil and s&p, I stab 2 potatoes at a time (lengthwise) with my 14″ long BBQ skewers. This makes them easier to turn half way through cooking, and the metal running through the potato conducts the heat more evenly. I cook 4 potatoes at a time and save two in the fridge for slicing and frying in the morning for breakfast. Num! Num!

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  65. I do it just a little different in that I mix the olive oil and salt (and other spices if desired) in a bowl and then roll the potatoes in the mix, then grill on the BBQ or pop the oven. I also like to microwave the potatoes first, it cuts down the oven time. Been doing this for years, a favourite of mine….

  66. I make a bunch of these for dinner. The extra heat up fast in the microwave in 1 minute and taste almost as good as the first day. Quick lunch for the next few days.

  67. i love putting brisket or steak with butter, sour cream, bacon bits, cheese, and au jus on my potatoes =)

  68. Thanks, who knew?

  69. Very nice photos and presentation! Thank you for the post.

    I make a cut lengthwise like you show and then a cut horizontally (cross-shape) to help the potato open up; then I break up the insides with a fork before adding the seasoning & toppings.

  70. Patricia Stanphill says:

    Hi Shauna,
    I tried to enter my email address to get your recipes sent to me, but I made a mistake on the “verify” box, and I can’t get it back again. Will you please add my email address to your list? I pinned your recipes for Chili’s Copycat Chicken Enchilada Soup and How to Bake a Perfect Potato. I’d like to get more of your recipes.

  71. Patricia Stanphill says:

    Sorry I misspelled your name! I’m embarrassed.

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